Thing #23 The end, or the beginning?

Wow! Congratulations!! You’ve reached the 23rd thing. Be sure to give yourself a pat on the back for completing the program. Your reward for completing this journey by our deadline (December 31, 2008, 11:59pm) is ONE OF MANY FABULOUS PRIZES. But before sending this off you, I ask for one last discovery post.

For your last and final exercise for this program please reflect on your learning journey and post a few thoughts. Here are some questions to prompt you if you're drawing a blank ...
  • What were your favorite discoveries or exercises on this learning journey?

  • How has this program assisted or affected your lifelong learning goals?

  • Were there any take-aways or unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you?

  • What could we do differently to improve upon this program’s format or concept?

    And last but not least…

  • If we offered another discovery program like this in the future, would you again chose to participate?

In closing, I want to thank each and every one of you for joining me on this journey. My greatest hope is that this not the end of our learning journey together as a staff and a system, but rather it’s just the start of something amazing

Thank you,

Your 23 Things Team.

Thing #22 Downloadable Media

With the possibility of a new MP3 player right around the corner, it’s time to take a look at the downloadable items available at SAPL. We have contracts with both Overdrive and NetLibrary to provide our patrons with e-Books, audiobooks, movies and even music to download onto their computer.

Some key reasons why we love BOTH of these products:


  • is the sole source for Recorded Books, a big name in the audiobooks world.

  • has the Pimsleur language learning products downloadable online.

  • allows unlimited checkouts per copy on all items SAPL currently owns.

  • is a well-known product from a well-known name (OCLC).


  • is very user friendly and has become the innovation leader in downloadables for libraries.

  • has movies and music as well as eBooks and audiobooks.

  • has a very large selection of publishers and titles to choose from.

  • allows many iPod-friendly downloads. (update: NetLibrary to also offer this beginning January 2009)

For this discovery exercise, we'd just like you to explore the interface of either NetLibrary or Overdrive. Choose one to play around with and blog about it. What do you think makes it easy and difficult to use? What kind of patrons do you think will use the service?

Discovery Resources:

NetLibrary Demos. NetLibrary has created several demos to help you get started with their various kinds of content.

  • Note: The "Media Center" demo is not yet live, because the "Media Center" is an upcoming upgrade to NetLibrary. Look for an email regarding that upgrade soon.

Overdrive's Tour. Overdrive also walks you step-by-step through gettings started with their content.

Discovery Exercise:

  1. Watch one or both the tours above and select one of the platforms to explore.

  2. Browse and Search for different subjects or titles that interest you.

  3. Checkout and download an item from one of the services. (Note: Because ITSD prohibit software downloads, if doing this from a staff or public library terminal, you will have to either use Netlibrary or explore e-books only in Overdrive)

  4. Create a blog post about your findings.

Thing #21 Podcasting

The word podcast is used to refer to a non-musical audio or video broadcast that is distributed over the Internet. What differentiates a podcast from regular streaming audio or video is that the delivery method for podcasts is often done automatically through RSS or serialized some other way. In 2005, "podcast" was named the "word of the year" by New Oxford American Dictionary and with the growth of podcasting over the last few years, it's easy to see why.

Podcasts take many forms, from short 1-10 minutes commentaries to much longer in person interviews or panel group discussions. There’s a podcast out there for just about every interest area and the best part about this technology is that you don’t have to have an iPod or a MP3 player to access them. Since podcasts use the MP3 file format, a popular compressed format for audio files, you really just need a PC (or portal device) with headphones or a speaker.

Tunes, the free downloadable application created by Apple is the directory finding service most associated with podcasts, but if you don’t have iTunes installed there are still plenty of options. For this discovery exercise participants are asked to take a look at some popular podcast directory tools. Do some exploring on your own and locate a podcast that is of interest to you. Once found, you can easily pull the RSS feed into your Google Reader account as well, so that when new casts become available you’ll be automatically notified of their existence.

Discovery Resources:

Discovery Exercise:

  1. Take a look at one or two of the podcast directories listed and see if you can find a podcast that interests you. See if you can find some interesting library related podcasts here like book review podcasts or library news.

  2. Add the RSS feed for a podcast to your Google Reader account

  3. Create a blog post about your discovery process. Did you find anything useful here?

Optional: If you're super-ambitious, why not try out a podcasting service and add an audio post about your experience to your blog. (see Jamie's audiopost on Library 2.0 as an example)

Thing #20 You Too Can YouTube

Within the past year online video hosting sites have exploded allowing users to easily to upload and share videos on the web. Among all the web 2.0 players in this area, YouTube is currently top dog serving up over 1 million video views a day and allowing users not only to upload their own video content easily, but also embed clips into their own sites easily.

Do some searching around YouTube yourself and see what the site has to offer. You'll find everything from 1970s TV commercials and 60s music videos to library dominos and kids singing about bloopers here. Of course, like any free site you’ll also find a lot stuff not worth watching too. Explore and see for yourself what the site has too offer. :)

Discovery Exercise:

  1. Explore YouTube & find a video worth adding as an entry in your blog.

  2. Create a blog post about your experience. What did you like or dislike about the site and why did you choose the video that you did? Can you see any features or componets of the site that might be interesting if they were applied to library websites?

    OPTIONAL: Try placing the video inside your blog using the copy and paste code for the for "Embeddable Player.” Note: you'll need to use Blogger's Edit HTML tab when pasting this code.

Other popular video hosting sites:

Thing #19: Add to your 2.0 Toolbox

Throughout the course of this Learning 2.0 program we’ve explored just a small sampling of these new internet technologies and websites that are empowering users with the ability to create and share content. If we had more time there are so many more we could explore. Time will tell which of these new collaborative, social networking and information tools will remain on top, but one thing is certain, they're not going to go away (at least anytime soon).

For this discovery exercise, participants are asked to select any site from this list of Web 2.0 Awards nominees and explore it. With so many to choose from, it might be handy to first select a category that interests you (like Books or Personal Organization) and then select a tool/site to explore. Be careful to select a tool that is Free and that doesn't require a plug-in or download. The majority of these free, so this shouldn’t be a problem.

Discovery Exercise:
  1. Select any site/tool from the list of Web 2.0 Awards nominees. (If you prefer to select from just the winners, here’s a link to the short list.)

  2. Explore the site you selected.

  3. Create a post about your discovery. What did you like or dislike about the tool? What were the site’s useful features? Could you see any applications for its use in a library setting?

Thing #18 Online Apps

The availability and use of online productivity web-based applications (think word processing and spreadsheets) has exploded over the past few years and for good reasons! These powerful applications provide users with the ability to create and share documents over the internet without the need of installed desktop applications.

Some experts speculate that this emerging trend may mean the death to Microsoft Office and other software-based productivity tools. Already, many new small and affordable laptops (called Netbooks) do not come with office suites, instead using free online applications. This makes them much more affordable than laptops with expensive software preloaded. Others think web-based applications have their place, but not in the office, citing difficulty in securing information online. But no matter which side of the office suite platform you side with, on this both sides seem to agree; web-based apps have their place.

One large benefit to web-based applications it that they eliminate the need to worry about different software versions or file types as you email documents or move from PC to PC. Another bonus is that they easily accommodate collaboration by allowing multiple users to edit the same file (with versioning) and provide users the ability to save and convert documents as multiple file types (including HTML and pdf). And, you can even use many of these tools, such as Zoho Writer and Google Docs (formerly known as Writely) to author and publish posts to your blog. It’s this type of integration with other Web 2.0 tools that makes web-based apps so appealing.

For this discovery exercise, participants are asked to take a look at a web-based word processing tool called Google Docs, create a simple document and then document your discoveries in your blog. If you're up to the challenge, you might even export your document as a web page or publish it to your blog.

With web-based applications, the possibilities are endless.

Discovery Resources:

A short list of web-based productivity applications – Note: Created in Google Docs, then clicked "Share", and "Publish as web page".

Discovery Exercise:
  1. Create a free account for yourself in Google Docs (you should be able to use your Blogger account).

  2. Explore the site and create a couple test documents, spreadsheets, or presentations.

  3. Try out a few features (maybe Share or Publish), and create a blog post about your discoveries.

    • Can you imagine using this at work? What about in your personal life?

Thing #17 Hands-on Exercise: Playing in a Wiki Sandbox

"Sandbox" is the term that wikis often use to describe the area of the website that should be used for pure play. For this discovery and exploration exercise, there's a whole Learning 2.0 Favorites wiki* that’s for nothing but play!

For this “explore-and-play-with-wikis” exercise, you are asked to add an entry or two to the PBwiki Learning 2.0 wiki. The theme of this wiki is simply “Favorites” : Favorite books, favorite vacation spots, favorite restaurants, favorite anything …all you need to do is play and add your thoughts. To mark your adventure on this site, you should add your blog to the Favorite Blogs page.

Discovery Resources

Discovery Exercise

  1. Access the PLCMC Learning 2.0 wiki and create a login account for yourself. The password is on the bottom of the login page: plcmc.
  2. Add your blog to the Favorite Blogs page (look for the San Antonio Public Library logo toward the end of the page). That's how we'll know that you've been there. It’s easy to do if you follow this simple syntax (11/24 UPDATE: the all-text instructions below will only work if you switch to the "classic" editing mode. The default is the WYSIWYG mode. Try both. See which one you like. You won't break anything!):

    [ URL Title of blog]

    [ Learning 2.0 ]

    With brackets [ ] and just a little typing, you’ve added a link - yup, it’s as easy as that! (If you don't want to do it old-school style, there's a handy WYSIWYG editor, too.)

    OPTIONAL: Add a favorite or two to a few other pages (Favorite books, favorite vacation spot, etc). And, if you feel up to the challenge, you might even want to create a separate page for book reviews or short travel essays and link up to that.

  3. Create a post in your blog about the experience.

* NOTE: The PLCMCLearning Wiki was created using the free version of PBWiki, a tool that lets you create webpages that anyone can edit.

Thing #16 Wiki-mania

A wiki is a collaborative website and authoring tool that allows users to easily add, remove and edit content. Wikipedia, the online open-community encyclopedia, is the largest and the most well known of these knowledge sharing tools. With the benefits that wikis provide, the use and popularity of these tools is exploding.

Some of the benefits that make wikis so attractive are:

  • Anyone (registered or unregistered, if unrestricted) can add, edit or delete content.
  • Tracking tools within wikis allow you to easily keep up on what has been changed and by whom.
  • Earlier versions of a page can be viewed and reinstated ("rolled back") when needed.
  • Users do not need to know HTML in order to apply styles to text or add and edit content. In most cases simple syntax structure is used.

As the use of wikis has grown over the last few years, libraries all over the country have begun to use them to collaborate and share knowledge. Among their applications are pathfinder or subject guide wikis, book review wikis, ALA conference wikis and even library best practices wikis.

Discovery Resources

Use these resources to learn more about wikis:

Discovery Exercise
  1. So what's in a wiki? Find out by doing some exploring on your own. For this discovery exercise, you are asked to take a look at some library wikis and blog about your findings. Here’s a few examples to get you started:

  2. Create a blog post about your findings. What did you find interesting? What types of applications within libraries might work well with a wiki?

Thing #15 More on 2.0

Library 2.0 is term used to describe a new set of concepts for developing and delivering library services. The name, as you may guess, is an extension of Web 2.0 and shares many of its same philosophies and concepts including harnessing the user in both design and implementation of services, embracing constant change as a development cycle over the traditional notion of upgrades, and reworking library services to meet the users in their space, as opposed to ours (libraries).

Many have argued that the notion of Library 2.0 is more than just a term used to describe concepts that revolve around the use of technology. It also a term that can be used to describe both physical and mindset changes that are occurring within libraries to make our spaces and services more user-centric and inviting. Others within the profession have asserted that libraries have always been 2.0: collaborative, customer friendly and welcoming. No matter which side of the debate proponents fall, both sides agree that libraries of tomorrow, even five or ten years from now, will look substantially different from libraries today.

Discovery Resources:

OCLC Next Space Newsletter, analyzing Libraries and the Future.

Five Perspectives:

Wikipedia – Library 2.0

Library 2.0 Discussions (list of great references from Wikipedia)

And finally... a librarian's 2.0 Manifesto.

Discovery Exercise:
  1. Read two or three of the perspectives on Library 2.0 from the list above.
  2. Create a blog post about your thoughts on any one of these? Library 2.0 - It's many things to many people. What does it mean to you?

Thing #14 Explore Technorati

So now that you’ve been blogging for awhile, you might be wondering just how big the blogosphere is. Well, according to Technorati, the leading search tool and authority for blogs, the number of blogs doubles just about every 6 months with over 900,000 blog posts posted every 24 hours. Already, Technorati indexes more than 133 million blog entries. Yes, these numbers are astounding, but as you’ve seen, blogging is so easy that these publishing tools are being taken advantage of by almost every industry, including libraries.

So how does a person get their blog listed as part of the blogosphere and how can you tag your posts with keywords to make them accessible through a Technorati search? The answer to the first question is that your blog is probably already being captured by Technorati due to the fact that you are using Blogger, the most popular blogging tool. But if you want to join the party and have your blog officially listed on Technorati and also take advantage of the watchlist and other features, you’ll need to claim your blog yourself. As for tagging posts with Technorati tags? This is easy, too. All you need to do is add a tag to the bottom of your post (on Blogger there's a spot called "Labels for this post") and Technorati will pick up these tags when it spiders (or web crawls) your site.

There are a lot of new features that have been added to Technorati, including new ways to search for blogs. You can search for keywords in blog posts, search for entire blog posts that have been tagged with a certain keyword, or search for blogs that have been registered and tagged as whole blogs about a certain subject (like photography or libraries).

Discovery Resources:

Some Technorati How-Tos

Technorati Discover & Popular features

Discovery Exercise:

Take a look at Technorati and try doing a keyword search for “Learning 2.0” in Blog posts, in tags and in the Blog Directory. Are the results different?
  1. Explore popular blog, searches and tags. Is anything interesting or surprising in your results?

  2. Create a blog post about your discoveries on this site, and tag your posts by with Technorati tags so they can join tag searches. Create a post about something. It can be anything you want and add the HTML code to the bottom to tag it as “SAPLL2.” You may also want to consider claiming your blog and creating a watchlist.

There's a lot to explore. Have fun!

Thing #13 Social Bookmarking

Tagging is an open and informal method of categorizing that allows users to associate keywords with webpages, pictures and posts. Unlike library subject cataloging, which follows a strict set of guidelines (i.e.Library of Congress subject headings), tagging is completely unstructured and free form, allowing users to create connections between data anyway they want.

We've explored Flickr, a site that allows users to use a tag like "My Branch Library" to create an association between the tags we've added and the photos that we've individually uploaded. This week, in addition to exploring Technorati tagging, we want to also take a look at a popular social bookmarking site called (typed in as or now is a social bookmarking manager which allows you to bookmark a web page and add tags to categorize your bookmarks. Many users find that the real power of is in the social network aspect. You can see how other users have tagged similar links and discover other websites of interest to you. You can think of it as peering into another users’ filing cabinet. By bookmarking each user's filing cabinet you help to build an expansive knowledge network.

For this discovery exercise, you are asked to take a look at and learn about this popular bookmarking tool.

Discovery Resources:

Discovery Exercise:
  1. View the video above and/or the 8 minute tutorial to get a good overview of its features.

  2. Take a look around using the PLCMCL2 account that was created for the original version of this exercise. Note: In this account you will find lots of resources that have been highlighted or used throughout the course of the Learning 2.0 program.

  3. Explore the site options and try clicking on a bookmark that has also been bookmarked by a lot of other users. Can you see the comments they added about this bookmark or the tags that they used to categorize this reference?

  4. Create a blog post about your experience and thoughts about this tool.

    Can you see the potential of this tool for research assistance? Or just as an easy way to create bookmarks that can be accessed from anywhere?

OPTIONAL: If you’re up to the challenge, create a account for yourself and discover how this useful bookmarking tool can replace your traditional browser bookmark list. You might even want to explore’ latest addition, a network badge. (Psst! see it over there at the end of the navigation sidebar)

Note: If you do setup a account, here’s a quick word about the Buttons. On PCs that have the toolbars locked down, these will install as options in your browser bookmarks. Use the “Post to my” link to add the current webpage to your account (you may need to log in). Use the “My” link to view your online account.

Thing #12 Roll Your Own Search Engine

What are some of your favorite websites? Do you use some of these sites to answer homework or reference questions? If so, Rollyo may be just for you. Rollyo allows you to create your own search tool for the websites you know and trust.

Take a look at some of these search rolls that have already been created:

Here’s a searchroll created by the 23 Things Team to search the top movie and TV websites.Try a search for specific titles, actors or film terms, such as "Finding Neverland” or “Johnny Depp” or "Cinemascope," to see reviews, biographies and other relevant information listed from multiple sites.

Discovery Exercise:

  1. Explore Rollyo and create an account for yourself.
  2. Create a search roll for any subject you like. (Tip: Use an Internet directory, such as Alexa or Yahoo! Directory, to discover sites that are similar to ones you're familiar with.)
  3. Create a post in your blog about your experience and link to your search roll. Can you see a potential use for tools like this?

OPTIONAL: Embed your searchroll in your blog using the "Create a Searchbox" tool and cutting-and-pasting the code Rollyo provides.

Thing #11 Goodreads to find good reads

Are you book lover at heart? Or do you enjoy hearing what your friends are reading? Then Goodreads may be just the tool for you.

Here's what their website says:

Have you ever wanted a better way to:

  • see what your friends are reading?

  • keep track of what you've read and what you'd like to read?

  • get great book recommendations from people you know?

Obviously, the answer to that is Goodreads.

Add a book to your catalog by just entering the title -- it’s so easy that you don’t even need MARC record training to do it – and connect with your other reading friends. Grab a widget (see Didi's sidebar for sample) to show off titles that are in your shelves.

So join the ranks of other book lovers and create your own library online. Connecting with friends will yield tons of new book recommendations, and soon you'll be like most folks: more books in the to-read section than anywhere else!

Discovery Resources:
Discovery Exercise:

  1. Take a look around Goodreads and create an account.

  2. Add a least 5 books to your library.

  3. Find a friend on Goodreads and comment on what they are reading.

    • Click Friends, then either enter your email info to search for your email contacts

    • or scroll down to search by name

  4. Blog about your findings.

Thing #10 Play Around with Online Image Generators

Generators? No, I’m not talking about those gas powered back-up things. The generators I’m talking about allow you to easily manipulate image and graphics to create fun images like these:

For this discovery exercise, I just want you to have fun! Find a few fun image or text generators to play with. Now write a post in your blog about one of your favorites and display the result. Often adding the image you mocked up to your blog is as simple as copying and pasting the code that the page provides. If not, you may need to right click on the image and then save it to your hard drive before using Blogger’s image button to add it to your post.

If you’re having difficulty getting your image added to a post in your blog, ask a co-worker for help. In looking at several staff blogs, it’s easy to see that we have lots of people in the system who have figured out how easy it is to add images to their blogs.

Discovery Resources:

The Generator Blog

Letter James

FD Toys

Also try searching for online generators, text generators or image generators!

Discovery Exercise:

1. Play around with some image generators and find one that you like.

2. Post the result of your discovery process in your blog.

Note: Be sure to include a link to the image generator itself, so other participants can discover it too.

So take some time and have fun with this exercise. And remember to be tasteful too!

* Images created with Dummies Book Generator, FD Toys Magazine Cover, Comic Strip Generator.

Thing #9 Explore RSS Feeds

Now that you have a newsreader (your Google Reader account), you can begin adding other newsfeeds that interest you.
  • Adding Feeds:

    • On the web: Look for RSS Feed icons (). Clicking makes it easy to subscribe to updates to that site.

    • You can also search by keyword on Google Reader. Use this to search by your interest.

    • You can also just type in the URL of a blog you like. Try typing into the "Add Feed" or "Subscribe" area - that's the blog that the SAPL Children's team uses to share ideas.

  • Other Search tools that can help you find feeds:

    • - This search tool allows you to locate recent newsfeed items based upon keyword or phrase searching. The tool focuses specifically on news and media outlet RSS feeds for information, not weblogs.

    • - Syndic8 is an open directory of RSS feeds that contains thousands of RSS feeds that users have submitted.

    • Technorati - Technorati Blog Search can help you find RSS feeds for topic-specific blogs you may be interested in.

Discovery Excercise:

  1. Explore some of the search tools noted above that can help you locate some news feeds.

  2. Create a blog post about your experience. Here some questions to think about:
  • Do you think you'd regularly use RSS to keep up with personal or professional blogs? Why or Why not?

  • Which method of finding feeds did you find easiest to use?

  • What kind of useful feeds did you find in your travels? Or what kind of unusual ones did you find?

  • What other tools or ways did you find to locate newsfeeds?

Beware: RSS Feeds can easily become too much to keep up with, obviously defeating their original purpose. Do not succumb to dreaded "information overload".

Thing #8 Make Life "Really Simple" With RSS & A Newsreader

RSS stands for “Really Simple Syndication” and is a file format for delivering regularly updated information over the web.

RSS is best described by using Netflix as a metaphor. You tell Netflix what movies you like, then they mail them to you when they're available. You tell an RSS reader what websites or blogs you read, and it delivers the newest articles and posts directly to one place (that place is called a "reader" or "aggregator"). They're both timesavers, essentially.

Just think about all the websites and news sources you visit (or wish you could visit) every day. It takes time to visit those sites and scour them for just the text you want to read, doesn’t it? Now imagine if you could visit all those sites in just one place and all at the same time … without being bombarded with advertising… without having to search for new information on the page you’d already seen or read before… and without having to consume a lot of time visiting each site individually. Would that be valuable to you?

Well, you can do it now through a newsreader and RSS.

This week’s discovery exercises focus on learning about RSS news feeds and setting up a Google Reader account (a free online newsreader) for yourself to bring your feeds together.

Discovery Resources:

  • Play this video called "RSS in Plain English" (audio probably needed to fully understand this one).

  • Google Reader - This online tutorial walks you through how to setup a Google Reader account and add newsfeeds. (Since Blogger is Google-based, you should be able to use the same username and password you used for your blog).

  • Your co-workers - Have a co-worker who already uses RSS? Ask for their help!

Discovery Exercise:

  1. Follow the discovery resources above to learn more about RSS and newsreaders.

  2. Create a free online Google Reader account for yourself and subscribe to several newsfeeds to your reader.

  3. Then try adding a few other types of news feeds from special interest sites. (If it's confusing, then don't worry, the entire next lesson is about adding feeds) Here's a few to try:
    • Look at the right column of this blog and click on the RSS icon to subscribe to posts. Now new lessons posted will appear in your reader as soon as they're posted here.

    • Reader’s Club new review feeds

    • Unshelved - Library cartoon feed

  4. Create a post in your blog about this exercise.

Don’t know what to blog about? Think about these questions:

  • What do you like about RSS and newsreaders?

  • How do you think you might be able to use this technology in your work or personal life?

  • How can libraries use RSS or take advantage of this new technology?

PS: Once you tackle this discovery exercise, you've tackled the most difficult one of the whole 23. :)

Thing #7 Blog About Technology

Discovery Exercise

  1. View this video (audio not required, but nice!).
  2. What do you think about "2.0" so far?
  3. Blog about something technology related (how will mobile devices figure into the info landscape? does ethnicity play a role in which technology is used to access net resources?).

Links o' Inspiration

Some Machines That Are Linking People

  • Apple's iPhone and the Google G1, not just for calling home
  • Kindle,'s ebook, enewspaper, e-everything reader
  • Flip cameras, inexpensive videocameras perfect for Youtubin'

Thing #6 More Flickr Fun

Like many Web 2.0 sites, Flickr encourages other people to build their own online applications using images found on the site. Through the use of APIs (application programming interfaces), many people have created third party tools and mashups* that use Flickr images. Here are just a sampling of a few …

  • Animoto - Will retrieve your flickr images and automatically make a cool music video out of them.

  • Qoop - lets you create lots of cool stuff, like t-shirts, keychains, and even businesscards.

  • Montagr – create a photo mosaic from photos found on Flickr.
Discover more mashups, web apps, and Flickr tools. The iLibrarian has highlighted a bunch more.

Discovery Exercise:

Your discovery exercise for this “thing” is to:
  1. Explore some of the fun Flickr mashups and 3rd party tools that are out there.

  2. Create a blog post about one that intrigues you.

Personally one of our very favorite tools is FD ToysTrading Card Maker. And there’s a ton of librarians out there that have created their own Librarian Trading Card. So have some fun discovering and exploring some neat little apps. And if you're up to the challenge while you’re at it, why not create a trading card of your own. :)

* Mashup Note:

Wikipedia offers some great articles that explain mashups. Basically they are hybrid web applications that take features from one application (like Flickr) and mash it up with another (like a map). In this example, you get Mappr (

PS: Learning 2.0 image (and SAPL Learns logo) created by Spell with Flickr.

Thing #5 Explore Flickr and learn about this popular image hosting site

Central 2008 Knit-Out ProgramPhoto sharing websites have been around since the '90s, but it took a small startup site called Flickr to catapult the idea of “sharing” into a full blown online community. Within the past few years, Flickr has become the fastest growing photo sharing site on the web and is known as one of the first websites to use keyword “tags” to create associations and connections between photos and users of the site. We're taking a look a the wide world of Flickr and the little interactive world of our library's mysapl and mysaplstaff accounts.

For this discovery exercise, you are first asked to take a good look at Flickr and discover what this site has to offer. Find out how tags work, what groups are, and all the neat things that people and other libraries are using Flickr for.
Photo credit:
Central 2008 Knit-Out Program on mysapl.

Discovery Resources:

Discovery Exercise:

In this discovery exercise, you have two options…

OPTION 1. Login to the mysaplstaff flickr account (your password is on the Intranet Flickr cheat sheet). Take a good look around your contact mysapl for an interesting library photo that you want to blog about. You are encouraged to tag or comment on the mysapl photo in Flickr- this makes the photo findable and adds a personal touch. Don't worry, instructions on how to tag or comment are on the Intranet Flickr cheat sheet.

You can paste the photo's URL link into your blog, or you can "embed" the photo directly on your blog. To embed, click on the mysapl photo you want to blog, click to the right of the photo on "Share this," click where it says "Embed it" and copy the html code Flickr generates. Then (in a separate browser window) go to blogger and sign in, go to "New Post," and paste the html in your editing window. Blogger will give you a option for the size of the photo - choose small or medium size. Presto, you have embedded the photo in your blog! Type your blog reflections under the photo.

-- OR --

OPTION 2. If you're up to an easy challenge ... create a Free account in Flickr and use a digital camera to capture a few pictures from your life. Upload these to your Flickr account and tag at least one of the images "SAPLL2" and mark it public. Then create a post in your blog about your photo and experience. Be sure to include the image in your post. Once you have a Flickr account, you have two options for doing this: through Flickr's blogging tool or using Blogger's photo upload feature.

So go ahead, explore the site and have some Flickr photo fun and if you're interested in looking at some photo hosting sites, then why not check out Jamie's recommendations & this Wired story. (Thanks Jamie for the link).

PS: A quick word about photo posting etiquette - When posting identifiable photos of other people (especially minors) is it advisable to get the person's verbal ok before posting their photo in a publicly accessible place like Flickr. Never upload pictures that weren't taken by you (unless you have the photographer's consent) and always give credit when you include photos taken by someone else in your blog. For more, check out the my SAPL and Flickr FAQs or the my SAPL and Flickr: Share Your Photos on the Intranet. If you have any questions about Flickr, you are welcome to ask bibliosopher on her 23 things blog - she's here to help along the way.

Thing #4 Explore the blogosphere

Take a little time to play with the blogs and get to know them!

Discovery Exercise:

  1. Check out the other 23 Thing Participants.
  2. Comment on someone else's blog. Encourage each other!
  3. Also check out one or more of the Top Ten Library Blogs to read in 2008

Our favorite of the Top Ten Blogs, is definitely "Judge a Book By It's Cover", where they turn the age-old adage on its head and make fun of salacious, silly, and psycho-seeming book covers all the day long.


Got some extra time? Check out some other library blogs. Austin Public Library uses blogspot as an outreach and marketing opportunity.

Blog about your favorite.

Thing #3 Grab yourself a blog in 3 steps

Now that you’ve done some exploring of this website and understand how the program works, it’s time to setup your own personal blog and begin recording your thoughts, discoveries and exercises.

We recommend that you use Blogger*, a popular free online blog hosting service that is extremely easy to use. It's also the program this blog is created on!

Creating a blog using Blogger takes just three steps:

  1. Create an account (view screenshot)

  2. Name your blog (view screenshot)

  3. Select your template. (view screenshot)

Once you’ve created your blog here are two important things to know:

  • To view your blog: Your blog address is http://(xxxx), (xxxx)=the unique identifier you entered in Step 2.

Check out Google's video on starting a blog for a quick visual example:

OK -- Now, it’s your turn...

Discovery Exercise:

  1. Setup a blog for yourself through Blogger.

  2. Add a test post or two. Use one of your test posts to create an entry about the habits among the 7 and 1/2 lifelong learning habits that is easiest and hardest for you & why.

  3. Send an email to the SAPL 23 Things Team and tell us your name and the address to your blog. We will not publish names publicly - you can choose whether or not to identify yourself in your own blog.

  4. Have fun!!!!

IMPORTANT NOTE: How you choose to identify yourself on your blog is your choice. You can blog under a screen name, anonymously or as yourself.

* Use of Blogger is only a recommendation. If there is another blog hosting site that you are more comfortable with, please feel free to use it. Just let us know at the email address above.

Thing #2 The 7 1/2 Habits of Lifelong Learning

Among libraries, lifelong learning is one of those core values we shelve our books by. So it makes sense that before we embark on this online learning and discovery journey that we take a few minutes to review a few habits of lifelong learners.

These habits, which we’ve called the Seven 1/2 habits of lifelong learners, will provide you with a refresher on what it means to be a lifelong learner.

Discovery Exercise:
  1. Make sure you have headphones or speakers attached to your computer.
  2. Check out this tutorial to learn the 7 1/2 habits:
  3. As you watch and listen, write down which habit among the 7 & 1/2 that is easiest for you and which is hardest. You will use your personal blog (which you will set up in the next lesson) to post your thoughts about lifelong learning.
Have fun! If you haven't jumped on board yet, it's never too late to become a lifelong learner.

Next Up: Creating your blog so you can begin tracking your journey. Several staff have already taken a jump start on this activity, so if you're up to it why not join the early bird crowd.

Thing #1 Discovery has never been so much fun ...

Powered by

Welcome to SAPL's Learning 2.0 program & blog. Chances are if you've found your way here you're either:

  • a member of SAPL's staff who's participating in the Learning 2.0 Challenge.
  • interested in learning about and playing around (yes, playing is allowed in libraries) with some new Web 2.0 tools that will help you expand your information literacy toolbox.
  • or, you're just interested in earning a cool incentive prize!

Learning 2.0 is online learning program that encourages staff to learn about emerging technologies on the web that are changing the way people, society and libraries access information and communicate with each other.

Over the course of the next eight and a half weeks, this website will highlight “23 Things” and present discovery exercises to help you become familiar with blogging, rss newsfeeds, tagging, wikis, podcasting, online applications, and video and image hosting sites.

To familiarize yourself with this project, be sure to read the About page. The FAQs should answer most of your questions about this program. If not, then please add your question to the this page as a comment.

So fasten your seat belts, grab your mouse and get ready for a discovery adventure… and remember, it's OK to play in the library and have fun!

This was the first of the 23 things. Easy, right? See you in a few days with Thing 2: Lifelong Learning.


Need some selling on the idea? Check out Clay Shirky talking at the Web 2.0 expo on society and change. It's long (about 15 minutes), but worth your time.

It will make you laugh and learn at the same time: